ALERT 2016-2017 Call for White Papers June 2, 2016
White Papers are due by July 1, 2016
Pursuant to the goals of DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate, Office of University Programs (OUP), the ALERT Center of Excellence (COE) is accepting white paper submissions for research and transition projects in 2016 and beyond. The COE seeks end-user focused projects that conduct transformational research, develop technology, and provide educational development to improve effective characterization, detection, mitigation and response to explosives-related threats facing the country and the world.
This call will consider white papers for projects ranging from fundamental research through transition to the security enterprise (government, private sector). Submissions must document the problem, describe the gaps that exist, and how their project will address the gaps to protect the public from explosives-related threats. ALERT plans to fund approximately four awards for up to two years at $60,000 to $100,000 per year.
Date: May 19, 2016
Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Washington, DC
The DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Office of University Programs and Stevens Institute of Technology invite you to attend the Spring 2016 Centers of Excellence(COE) Technology Showcase May 19, 2016 open 9:00 am- 4:00 pm.
Explore tools and technology or talk to experts in: Border Security – Explosives Detection – Risk and Economic Analysis – Natural Hazards – Data & Visual Analytics – Food Defense – Terrorism Studies – Animal Disease Defense – Maritime and Arctic Security – Critical Infrastructure Resilience – Training Opportunities – Hosting Interns – Working with the COEs
Experience demonstrations of COE tools, technologies, knowledge products
Connect with university experts (one-on-one if desired) to discuss pressing challenges
Develop new collaborations to support homeland security missions
Meet the newest COEs focused on Arctic security; critical infrastructure resilience; and borders, trade and immigration
Learn how to bring interns and professional development opportunities to your office
Student Spotlight: Srikrishna Karanam April 29, 2016
Srikrishna Karanam, an ALERT Ph.D. student in Computer and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), has been “Searching for people in camera networks,” (the title of his doctoral thesis) with his faculty advisor, Prof. Richard Radke, for over three years.
As described by Srikrishna, “The overall goal of the project is to design and develop a system, called tag and track, to assist TSA officials in detecting and tracking persons of interest in critical and busy environments such as airports. My role is to develop and implement the underlying algorithms that drive the system.” (To see the related ALERT 101 video, click here).
After completing his Bachelor of Technology degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from the National Institute of Technology Warangal in India, Srikrishna joined RPI as a Master’s student, initially involved in tracking people as they moved in videos, before joining ALERT’s video analytics research team.
When asked what about his work drives him, he states, “I am very passionate about algorithmic research being actually used to solve real-world problems. My involvement with ALERT has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to develop algorithms and systems keeping real-world constraints in mind… How do we ensure that the system works efficiently in such cases and does not ‘lose’ the person being tracked in the crowd? This is one of the several questions I want to address going forward.”
Naturally, there have been challenges along the way. Srikrishna and his team worked to design a user-friendly system so that someone unfamiliar with Computer Vision was able to utilize the software. He states that, “The system had to work in real-time on live video feeds in the airport, so developing efficient and optimized algorithms was critical.” As a result of his work, he has authored and co-authored 9 papers (including 1 journal article and 5 conference papers in press, as well as several submitted).
When asked about his experience working with Prof. Radke, he says, “I have immensely enjoyed working with Prof. Radke. He has given me a lot of independence in developing ideas for my dissertation, and I feel that has helped me grow as a researcher.”
After he completes his Ph.D., Srikrishna hopes to transition to industry, with the goal of continuing his work with Computer Vision, and finding the opportunity to implement both basic and applied research.
Of the impact his participation in the program has had on this research interests, Srikrishna states, “ALERT’s emphasis on transitioning laboratory research to real-world solutions has had a huge impact on my research philosophy. Now, when I think of possible solution approaches to a certain problem, ensuring that my approach is adaptable to real-world scenarios is a top priority.”
ALERT & Gordon-CenSSIS Research Represented at RISE:2016 April 29, 2016
On April 7th, Northeastern University held its fifth annual Research, Innovation and Scholarship Expo (RISE), known as RISE:2016. The expo is an opportunity for students and faculty members to showcase use-inspired scholarly research and fundamental discoveries that can be translated into real-world applications. At RISE:2016, more than a dozen ALERT, Gordon-CenSSIS, and other affiliated students presented their inventive engineering research projects to the general public as well as the RISE judges, who hail from industry, investment, political, and media-related backgrounds.
Research based in the R3 Thrust, Bulk Sensors and Sensor Systems, was especially visible at the expo and represented by both graduate and undergraduate students. PhD candidates Yukinori Fuse and Mohammad Tajdini demonstrated their respective work with Professors Carey Rappaport and Jose Martinez-Lorenzo on advanced imaging and algorithm development for forward-looking vehicle-based Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). Undergraduate student researcher Anthony Bisulco was present to explain his efforts in rapid security threat detection using millimeter-wave imaging, which he conducts within Prof. Martinez-Lorenzo’s group.
Members of the 2015-2016 ALERT and Gordon-CenSSIS Scholars Program were also presenters at RISE:2016. Innovative investigations into such topics as breast cancer imaging, big-data computing, large-scale image database development were representative of the Scholars’ year-long projects and potent material for participation in RISE.
We congratulate our students and faculty sponsors on their well-received presentations at RISE:2016!
Congratulations to our ALERT and Gordon-CenSSIS Scholars! April 29, 2016
This year, ALERT and Gordon-CenSSIS had the honor of hosting 15 freshmen engineering students as participants in the ALERT and Gordon-CenSSIS Scholars Program.
After two semesters of active involvement in the program — which includes participation in an ALERT or Gordon-CenSSIS research project, K-12 STEM outreach, and Scholar meetings, seminars and activities — they completed the program on Wednesday, April 20th, 2016, when they presented their final research presentations to their faculty advisors and other members of the Scholars community. The final presentations consisted of 3-minute overviews of each Scholar’s research project, addressing their project’s overall mission and activities, their specific contributions to the project, as well as what knowledge and skills they gained.
The ALERT and Gordon-CenSSIS Scholars Program is designed to provide freshmen engineers with the opportunity to get involved in research and STEM outreach, but also focuses on building their professional development. Throughout the year, Scholars attended seminars on Public Speaking Skills, Research Ethics, Lab Safety and Research Poster Building Skills.
2015-2016 Scholars [L-R], Top Row: James Dowd, Sule Sahin, Jennifer Silva, Peyton Perry, Sofia Catalina, Amanda Barbour, Kalina Yang, Matthew Greenlaw, Kevin Kimelman, Sarah Fayerweather; Bottom Row: Justin Xia, Aayush Parekh, Ryan Birke, Darya Malkova, August Howell.
The program also aims to provide Scholars with multiple resources for mentorship and guidance. In addition to their faculty advisor, the program coordinator, and the STEM Center team, each Scholar is assigned a specific Scholar Mentor, who regularly connects with them regarding program-related activities, as well as questions or concerns related to their overall experience at NU. Scholar Mentors are undergraduate engineering students who have previously completed the Scholars program, and who apply to participate in this supporting role. As part of their involvement this spring, the Mentors each gave a presentation to the Scholars on their research, outreach and co-op experiences.
All ALERT and Gordon-CenSSIS Scholars who successfully complete the program requirements receive an NU Bookstore Voucher of up to $1,000.
The program is hosted and sponsored by the Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats (ALERT) Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence, and the Bernard M. Gordon Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems (Gordon-CenSSIS), a Graduated National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center.
ASPIRE: Linking Students to Great Opportunities April 29, 2016
The fifth Annual Student Pipeline Industry Roundtable Event (ASPIRE) was held on Tuesday, April 12th, 2016 at Northeastern University in Boston. It successfully brought together ALERT and Gordon-CenSSIS industrial partners, government stakeholders and current students of all levels involved in center research in order to build strong collaborations and provide networking opportunities for all participants. This year’s ASPIRE included students from 5 academic partner institutions and representatives from 10 industrial and government collaborators.
ASPIRE is part of the ALERT and Gordon-CenSSIS ongoing efforts to create robust partnerships within our industrial base and government stakeholders, while also giving our students the opportunity to network as they transition through academia and into the Homeland Security Enterprise.
The event is coordinated and led by our Industrial and Government Liaison Officer, Emel Bulat. The agenda includes industry and government presentations, followed by 2-minute presentations made by students. In the afternoon, representatives from industry and government meet face-to-face with students, as well as with each other, during a two-hour networking session, in conjunction with the student poster session.
We look forward to holding our next ASPIRE in the spring of 2017!
Northeastern News spotlights ALERT research in Airport Security Technologies April 28, 2016
FUTURE OF AIRPORT SECURITY – Northeastern News, 4/28/2016
According to the International Air Transport Association, about 8 million travelers make their way through airports around the world each day. Traditional security requires passengers to stand still while being screened, but Northeastern researchers are developing cutting-edge technology that can detect suspicious behavior—even when passengers are on the move…
Profs. Camps, Martinez, Radke, Rappaport, and Sznaier’s work is featured in this dynamic video story.
The Associated Press features ALERT Researcher Otto Gregory’s work February 17, 2016
SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) — A University of Rhode Island professor has developed a sensor that detects the kind of explosive used in the Paris bombings, to try to stop future attacks.
Professor Otto Gregory compares his sensor to a dog’s nose, the gold standard in explosives detection. It “sniffs” the air for vapors emitted from explosives.
Photo Description: In this Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 photo University of Rhode Island engineering professor Otto Gregory, right, is reflected in a silicon wafer, center, that contains sensors to detect explosives, in front of a thin film surface analyzer, behind, in a laboratory on the school’s campus, in South Kingstown, R.I. He has developed a sensor that detects the explosive used in the Paris bombings, to try to stop future attacks. Gregory compares his sensor to a dog’s nose, the gold standard in explosives detection. It “sniffs” the air for vapors emitted from explosives. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
DHS S&T hosts “The Nose Knows” Twitter Chat 12/17, 12pm December 17, 2015
Join the @dhsscitech#STTechTalk “The Nose Knows” Thursday December 17th at noon EST. Tune in and chat about improving canine explosives detection.
The Nose Knows: The Science of Threat Detection Canines
Did you know dogs’ noses are a million times more sensitive than a human’s nose? Dogs can be trained to detect a wide variety of specific scents, such as drugs, fruits, and explosives and are trained to alert their handlers to the presence of these hazardous items by pawing, barking or, in the case of something dangerous, sitting or lying quietly.
Canines have been used by law enforcement agencies for decades to alert their handlers to threats or objects of interest. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Canine Program is working with DHS partners, including the Transportation Security Administration, other federal agencies, and state and local first responders to provide independent verification of canine teams’ performance, as well as ways to enhance overall detection capability…